Doesn’t asking someone if they’re suicidal make them think about it? NO! Often individuals who are struggling are relieved to talk about it. It is a sign you care and are willing to take risks for their health.
People who talk about suicide never attempt or complete suicide. This is incorrect. Talking about suicide can be a way to reach out for help.
People who threaten suicide are just seeking attention. All attempts or discussion of suicide should be taken seriously. It is likely that the person has tried to gain attention and, therefore, this attention is needed.
Once a person is intent on suicide, there is no way of stopping them. Suicide is preventable. With supportive relationships, life skills, and effective behavioral health care suicide can be prevented. Suicidal crises can be relatively short-lived. Suicide is a permanent solution to what is usually a temporary problem.
Protective Factors for Suicide
Effective clinical care for mental, physical and substance use disorders
Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions
Restricted access to highly lethal means of suicide
Strong connections to family and community support
Support through ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution and handling problems in a non-violent way
Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support self-preservation
Risk factors are often confused with warning signs of suicide, and frequently suicide prevention materials mix the two into lists of “what to watch out for.” It is important to note, however, that factors identified as increasing risk are not factors that cause or predict a suicide attempt. Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that an individual will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. Protective factors are characteristics that make it less likely that individuals will consider, attempt, or die by suicide.
Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and certain personality disorders
Alcohol and other substance use disorders
Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
History of trauma or abuse
Major physical illnesses
Previous suicide attempt
Family history of suicide
Job or financial loss
Loss of relationship
Easy access to lethal means
Local clusters of suicide
Lack of social support and sense of isolation
Stigma associated with asking for help
Lack of health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)